No we don't know if he was drinking beforehand and police aren't saying if he was. However, the homeless man who fell asleep in a dumpster and was emptied into a garbage truck, will live to drink another day, either way.
The 48-year-old transient barely escaped serious injury when the garbage men came along.
Two Santa Cruz refuse collectors lifted the container to empty it into their truck at about 6 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Fortunately for the transient, a city collections supervisor happened to be on the ground outside the truck observing the collection and heard a faint sound from the truck, police said.
She directed the driver to shut off the truck and the driver and supervisor were able to fully hear the person yelling from inside the truck at that point.
The supervisor called 911 and both fire and police units responded.
The fire department used their hydraulic ladder to retrieve the man from the inside the truck.
He had minor injuries and was transported to a local hospital.
The dumpster is the type that is lifted by forks mounted on the front of the truck, raised over the top of the truck and emptied into the truck.
The driver then runs a ram inside the truck compartment to compact the garbage.
The driver uses controls inside the cab for all of these functions and is unable to see inside the refuse container or unlikely to hear calls over the noise of the truck.
The City of Santa Cruz contacted the Homeless Services Center to help spread the word about the danger of sleeping in dumpsters.
Announcements will be made to clients during shelter meals, and the city officials said they would provide fliers at local shelters and meal sites warning of the danger.
A few years ago, the driver of a city collection truck reported catching a glimpse of transients in a dumpster before just before he dumped the contents into the truck.
Santa Cruz city officials said they did extensive outreach at that time to warn of the dangers of sleeping or climbing into dumpsters.